Ar-Ras, Thu 22.5.08, Afternoon
We entered Azun through the old road 55 from which the barricades had
been removed a few days ago though the road has not been fixed. The
main entrance to the new road 55 is still blocked by dirt and barbed
wire. We went on in the direction of Tulkarm to the barricade at A-Ras.
At A-Ras there is a detainee who the soldiers say has no ID and they do
not know who he is. We offer our assistance in finding a relative on
condition that they let us speak to him and the soldiers refuse. He is
sitting in the cement area which the soldiers use sometimes as a post
and is fairly shady and he is handcuffed. We ask why this is so and
the soldiers claim that he had wanted to hit them. We managed to speak
to the man who said that a soldier had hit him and this the soldier
affirmed saying that he had been unruly and had cursed him. We phone
the humanitarian centre of the army and complain. When we arrived there
were hardly any cars in the direction of Tulkarm but as soon as they
realized that we knew that one of the soldiers had hit the man they
stopped checking and began to busy themselves with the man. The
commander arrived and together they went to the man and the commander
asked him who had beaten him. We heard the commander telling the man to
speak to him respectfully and because of his "cheekiness" he was hit on
the head and his shirt was bloodied and also received the punishment of
having his handcuffs tightened (who knows for how long). The soldier
who had beaten him was taken away in a truck before we managed to
One of the soldiers takes off the handcuffs of the man and takes him
behind the sentry tower to the shade. We are worried that they will
beat him without our seeing and decide to stay until he is freed.
Now the commander drills the soldiers in how to take up position and
shoot the enemy. All this time (15 minutes) no car is passed through
and there are now 9 in line.
The soldiers start to send cars through. Zecharia (the Palestinian who
is the contact man for the Rabbis for Human Rights to whom we had given
a lift is with us and decides to intervene. He went to the soldiers and
we go off at a distance because with the soldiers being religious and
ultra-orthodox we understand that it is better if a man speaks to them.
They let him speak to the detainee. Zecharia phoned the parents in
Qalqiliya and other people whose number he had been given and a few
minutes later at 15.10 he is freed dafke with an ID but that of his
brother. Because of the late hour we did not go to checkpoint 753
Jubara and Anabta and went to Jit through Kur and Al Pondok.